Math Question for Kids Sparked Heated Debate – People Can’t Agree on the Right Answer

Puzzling Math Question Sparks Online Debate

In June 2023, a seemingly simple math question went viral on social media, sparking a global debate. @yawdmontweet from Jamaica posed the question: “What is the closest time to midnight?” The options were A. 11:55 a.m., B. 12:06 a.m., C. 11:50 a.m., and D. 12:03 a.m., leaving many users puzzled.

Participants initially leaned towards option D, reasoning that it was three minutes past midnight, making it the closest time. However, the wording of the question, emphasizing the “closest time to” instead of “closest time until,” led to varied interpretations.

Some participants considered the proximity of the written word “midnight” in the options, choosing option A. Others found the question misleading, with the inclusion of 11:55 a.m. seeming deceptively close to midnight.

To resolve the debate, some turned to artificial intelligence, with ChatGPT stating, “The closest time to midnight would be D. 12:03 a.m.” However, the controversy persisted, with comments suggesting two valid answers based on different interpretations of the question.

The intense debate raised concerns about the potential negative impact on young learners, as ambiguous math problems could contribute to frustration and dislike for the subject. Despite efforts to find a consensus, the question continued to divide opinions, leaving the online community questioning whether it had more than one correct answer.

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